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Mari Kalkun (2015)

Mari Kalkun (born 1 April 1986)[1] is an Estonian singer and musician who specializes in contemporary folk music. She has performed at home and abroad in concerts with the ensemble Runorum, releasing several recordings since 2007. In 2013, she was voted best singer at Estonia's Ethno Music Awards.[2] Her widely acclaimed 2018 album Ilmamõtsan consists of songs inspired by Estonia's traditional folk music, especially that from the villages of Kalkun's native Võru in south-eastern Estonia.[3][4][5]


Born on 1 April 1986, Mari Kalkun was brought up in the Võru district in south-eastern Estonia where from her childhood she was inspired by the woodlands, birds and swamps.[3] She first studied cultural management at the Viljandi Culture Academy. She then took up music studies at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and was an exchange student at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. She graduated with a masters degree in traditional singing.[6] She mastered the art of combining folk music with jazz.[7]

Kalkun not only sings but composes her own music and plays several instruments including the Estonian zither, piano, accordion and guitar. She released her first solo album Üü tulõk (Arrival of the Night) in 2007. Thanks to its succes, she participated in concerts in France, the UK, Finland and Russia. In 2009, she performed in Japan together with the Estonian artist Pastaca where a recording of her music was also released.[7]

Later recordings include Dear Rain (2010), Tii ilo (2015) together with her Finnish band Runorum, and Upa-upa ubinakõnõ (2015) in her native Võru dialect.[2] Ilmamõtsan was released in November 2017. It consists of 12 songs in Estonian and Võru, most of them written by Kalkun inspired by local poets.[8]


  1. ^ "Mari Kalkun". BBC. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Mari Kalkun". Nordic Notes. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b Friedrich, Grit (4 April 2019). "Filigrane Klangwelten aus Estland" (in German). Deutschlandfunk. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  4. ^ Spencer, Neil (24 June 2018). "Mari Kalkun: Ilmamõtsan review – mesmerising Estonian forest folk". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  5. ^ Harness, Greg (2018). "Mari Kalkun: Ilmamõtsan". RootsWorld. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Mari Kalkun". Õunaviks. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  7. ^ a b Rooste, Jürgen (7 April 2013). "Rändlaulik Mari Kalkun - andekas nagu kurat (8)" (in Estonian). Maaleht. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Mari Kalkun" (in Estonian). Retrieved 9 May 2019.

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